Cape Canaveral, United States, Aug 8, EFE.- NASA on Tuesday opened to the press the doors of a dedicated space to the ships of the Artemis program at the Kennedy Space Center in the United States, aiming to return to the Moon and explore Mars with help of other countries and private companies.
In the Cape Canaveral building dedicated to the astronaut of the Apollo XI mission Neil Armstrong, who became the first human being to set foot on the Moon in 1969, the Artemis II mission astronauts showed the Orion spacecraft that will travel and orbit the terrestrial satellite in 2024.
“This is real, it’s not a dream,” said Artemis II Cmdr. Reid Wiserman, pointing to the craft built by Lockheed Martin, which looks similar to the Apollo XI mission despite being much more technologically advanced.
In the same industrial warehouse accessed through a door on which is written “The house of Orion, pioneers of deep space exploration,” there are two other Orions, those of the Artemis III and Artemis IV missions, as well as the European Service Module built by European company Airbus.
Companies from 12 European countries have participated in the manufacture of the module, which will supply the ship where the four Artemis II astronauts will go, with oxygen, energy and environmental control, according to what Airbus Project Manager Kai Bergemann told EFE.
“Here we really have an opportunity to pool knowledge to solve the common technical challenge. That is really the great added value of such international cooperation,” he said.
Pam Melroy, NASA vice administrator, also said Artemis is a program in which international cooperation is very important, something seen in the mission crew itself.
Together with Wiserman, pilot Victor Glover and specialist Christina Hammock Koch, all from NASA, Canadian Jeremy Hansen will travel to the Moon in 2024.
Phillippe Berthe, acting project manager for the European Space Agency, said the participation of astronauts from the Old Continent in future Artemis missions is not a possibility, but “a certainty.”
“People from nations that have never been involved in space exploration before are playing a role in the Artemis program and that will have a huge impact 20, 30 or 40 years from now all over the world,” the mission commander told reporters.
The vice administrator of NASA said international cooperation is of the utmost importance in Artemis, because from this program, “precedents and eventually norms of behavior for humans in the solar system will be established.”
“I am very proud of the fact that we have 28 signatories to the program and they come from a variety of countries,” she said.
“Some go into space regularly and some have very limited space experience, but it’s about the opportunity for all of us to have a conversation about how best to move governance forward, because we’re setting a precedent for humanity. and we must do it the right way,” Melroy said.
Melroy said astronauts would go to a more remote and unknown part of the Moon, where water was recently discovered, not the section Apollo XI astronauts stepped on in 1969.
Artemis II was preceded by an unmanned test mission, Artemis I, successfully completed in 2022 and considered historic because it paved the way for sending robots and humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
The Artemis II mission, which will take place within a maximum of 15 months, will use NASA’s SLS rocket, the tallest and most powerful in space history, as a shuttle.
Both phases of the SLS rocket and the European service module, the structures topped by the Orion spacecraft, will be destroyed in space, said Luis Saucedo, vice manager of NASA’s Orion service module and crew. Only ships with astronauts will return to earth. EFE